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Rainy weather fails to dampen spirits of Marathon runners

Plymouth's Aleaha Gray, 18, one of an elite group of local athletes to place well in this weekend's races, accepts her Third Place medal in the Women's 10K from Race Director Everett Begor. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
October 05, 2011
BRISTOL—It may not have been the prettiest race ever, or record-breaking either, but most of the runners who participated in the 19th Annual New Hampshire Marathon around Newfound Lake this past weekend said they really enjoyed the day.

It was pelting rain and a little on the chilly side, not the best weekend for fall foliage excursions, but great for enjoying the indoor crafts fair at the Newfound Memorial Middle School gymnasium, a complimentary after-race chair massage in the school cafeteria, or especially the warm and friendly After-Party at Kathleen's Cottage later in the day.

"This is actually great weather for running," said a soggy but beaming Armand Girouard of Plymouth, after finishing second in the Men's 10K with an impressive time of 44:53.

Girouard was but one of the local runners who put in a notable performance in the weekend's races in Bristol, along with elite runners from all over the United States and Canada, as well as inspiring, talented amateurs like Wentworth's Judy Gove, who are new to the game.

Gove, who has been training for races only since June of this year, made it look easy, and even enjoyable, as she came across the finish line, smiling and in good humor.

"This is something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Gove. "I had to get all the aches and pains behind me, but after that, I had found it to be a lot of fun."

She rain her first race in July, a 5K for the Make-a-Wish- Foundation, and is working towards her first half-marathon later this fall, which she will run in loving memory and tribute to a good friend who died from cancer after a long, heroic battle with the disease.

It is a motivation that resonates with many who somehow manage to find the wherewithal to undertake the seemingly impossible feat of training for marathons.

Speaking of which, a shout -out has to go to Hebron's Kathleen Connor, who put in an impressive 10 K run, coming in fourth in the Women's race, placing ninth overall, and earning that first place slot in her age group, with a time of 48:54. But that is not all.

The apparently indefatigable Connor was to be seen later that day, umbrella in hand, smiling enthusiastically as she put in her laps at the Keeping You, Me and Memories Alive annual fundraising walk for cancer patients, held at Plymouth State University on Saturday afternoon. You have got to give her extra credit for that!

Kathleen Packard from Keene was another inspiring runner, new to the game. She said she started running, indoors on a treadmill, to help her lose weight after the birth of her 17-month-old daughter, Avery. Saturday was her first race ever, and she had every reason to be proud as her husband, Matt, and daughter cheered her across the finish line.

Other remarkable local performances were achieved by Aleaha Gray, 18, of Plymouth, who placed third in the Women's 10K, and Taylor Sirles, 18, of Holderness, coming in second in the under 19 age group category in the 10K; Barbara Sewall, of Bristol, who came in first in her age division in the 10K, as well as Carl Berridge, 15, of Groton, who came in third in the Men's under 19 age group, and Marshall Randolph, of Rumney, who placed first in the 60 and over category!

And let's not forget Plymouth's Sarah Stewart, who completed her first half-marathon with a time of 2:40:30! Congratulations! You have to be considered a superwoman! And it is all for a great cause.

The New Hampshire Marathon raises funds to support three important youth programs in the Newfound area; The Tapply-Thompson Community Center, Camp Mayhew, and the Circle Program. Proceeds from the race will be presented to these community groups at a festive ceremony later in the year.

Race Results

The more experienced athletes put in some good runs as well, but for the most part, it was not a record-breaking day for New Hampshire Marathoners.

The Men's Overall winner of the Marathon was Titus Mutinda, of Lowell, Mass., setting the pace at 6:56, with a time of 3:01:34. The NH Marathon record, set in 1994, is still held by James Garcia at 2:33: 17. The second place finisher was Michael Conrad of Cleveland, Ohio, with a time of 3:02:56, followed in third place by David Constantine of Woonsocket, R.I. at 3:07:13.

But it should be noted that Plymouth's Thomas Euland came in a highly respectable seventh place, with a not-too-shabby time of 3:12: 53.

For the women, the overall Marathon winner was Barbara McManus of Worcester, Mass., with a time of 3:18:35. Laurie Barowski of Brooklyn, N.Y. placed second at 3:33:59, followed by Katie Garcia of Medford, Mass., with a time of 3:38:53.

In the Half-Marathon, the Men's Overall winner was Andrew Huelsner from Hampton Falls, 1:15:13. Second place went to Daniel Miranda, Baltimore, Md., 1:18:43, and third place, Jason Bui, Tewksbury, Mass., 1:19:11.

But it should be noted that New Hampton's Adam Tyson came in eighth overall, and first in his age group with a time of 1:30:30. Nice work!

In the Women's Half-Marathon, Darline Chapman, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, took the took prize with a time of 1:41:58, followed by Amy Machechnie, Andover, 1:47:26, and Amanda Benoit, Lowell, Mass., 1:49:01.

In the Men's 10K, the winner was Rich Smith, Enfield, at 36:20, followed in second place overall by the Women's First Place finisher, Christin Doneski, from Hopkinton, with a time of 38:50! Plymouth's Armand Girouard place second in the Men's 10K with a time of 44:53, followed in third place by Chris Philippy, of Northfield, at 46:20.

The Women's 10K second place finished was Kristen Ewing of Amherst, followed by Plymouth's Aleaha Gray.

The New Hampshire Marathon was professionally timed by Granite State Race Services. The complete race results are available on-line at the coolrunning.com website.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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